London, UK, May 17 2007 – In an open letter to the Communities Secretary, Ruth Kelly, Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain, the Islamic political party, has challenged the Government's interference in mosques and madrassas. The letter, challenging the wisdom of recently announced plans to compel madrassas to teach citizenship and closely regulate mosques through the Charity Commission, is being widely distributed to academics, journalists, mosques and Muslim organisations. The letter also examines the Government's rhetoric on 'radicalisation', criticising the Government's continued denial of the link between foreign policy and violence, and Kelly's recent comments calling for a "British version of Islam".
The open letter states that "The measures to regulate mosques, Imams and madrassahs are the latest evidence of creeping authoritarianism by a Government that now insists on controlling Muslim religious institutions."
The letter goes on to argue that, "While it was never suggested during the Troubles in Northern Ireland that state control of Catholic churches would have ended violence, we are now being told that it is an essential element of the 'war on terror' for Government to force mosques, Imams and madrassahs to teach secular liberal values, encourage support for British foreign policy and seemingly create a supine, compliant Muslim community."
"Whilst many nowadays seem to argue for the disestablishment of the Anglican Church – seeing a greater separation of religion from political life – it is ironic that the government seems as if it is working towards the establishment of an "Anglican Islam" – increasing political control within the Muslim community and its institutions."
The letter concludes, "It is our view that these policies are so misguided that people within and outside the Muslim community should be made aware of the problems they will cause and hear our arguments for constructive alternatives. It is for this reason that we will make public the contents of this letter and raise an active campaign of awareness, hoping to end this misguided folly."
Notes to Editors:
The full text of the letter to Ruth Kelly is available from Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain's press centre.